When designed with plenty of forethought, a Web site can be a important addition to your business or personal message. Taking time to plan before you publish your Web site saves you time and frustration in the long run, and keeps your readers returning.
You don't have to be a trained artist or designer to create a professional-looking Web site using Microsoft Publisher 2000. Publisher can do most of the work for you. Still, taking time to plan your site before creating it helps you craft one that's both informative and stimulating for your readers.
Planning Your Site
Developing a clear objective and core message is the first step. Before you put fingers to keyboard, answer the following questions.
What information do you have to offer? As an individual, organization, or business, you can use the Web to offer a wide range of content.
The Internet attracts a diverse group of users. It's critical to target your information to your particular audience. Publish (see Publishing Your Publisher 2000 Web Site ) content they find important. For a nonprofit organization, this may be information about current events. For a mid-sized corporation, it may be the latest news about corporate tools and processes. Whoever your audience, ask yourself what essential information they need to know, and then speak to it.
The Web is frequently used to:
- Give technical support to customers or workgroups.
- Post a calendar of events for group members.
- Offer a clearinghouse on consumer product information.
- Create a personal home page for planning family events, sharing vacation photos, pursuing a hobby, or just having fun.
- Post an electronic resume for prospective employers.
Do you have products or services to offer? You can use the Web to:
- Reach potential clients with information on services or products.
- Introduce new products and services, and make special offers.
- Sell merchandise directly through an electronic catalog.
- Build corporate identity, brand awareness, and good public relations.
- Publish the latest product or service information.
- Make your existing product literature and user guides available online.
Do you want feedback from or interaction with others? You can use the Web to:
- Conduct research through surveys and questionnaires.
- Create an educational forum for sharing the latest information in a given discipline.
- Exchange information among members of clubs and across organizations.
- Recruit participants for volunteer and fundraising activities.
- Develop a qualified list of client prospects for goods and services.
Also, decide how you want people who use your site to contact you. Do you want your name, address, phone number, and fax number on the site, or would you prefer to be contacted by e-mail? Do you need to use Web forms so customers can order products and give you credit card information?
What Web sites do you find useful and attractive? Take some time to gather ideas by browsing the Internet. Web designers create new navigation methods and layouts every day. See what works or doesn't work for you; or be inspired to do something new and innovative with layout, color (see Using Color on Your Publisher 2000 Web Site ), hyperlinks (see Making the Most of Hyperlinks in Publisher 2000 ), or graphics (see Using Graphics on Your Publisher 2000 Web Site ). Once you've clarified the purpose of your site, its audience, and the manner you want to receive responses from readers, you're ready to structure (see Structuring Your Publisher 2000 Web Site ) your content and design and to lay out your Web site.